- Soham (Sanskrit)
"So 'hamn" ("IAST|so 'hamn" _sa. सो ऽहम्) is the
Sanskritfor "I myself" or "It is I". It is used as a mantra. Hindu saintsand gurus [Among them Swami Muktananda, in "I Am That: The Science of Hamsa from the Vijnana Bhairava", Siddha Yoga Publications, 1992.] state that one can attain moksha, or mukti(release) or liberation from the cycle of life and death by focusing attention on the natural breath(without forcing it) and inwardly listening to the sound "hamn" (pronounced hum) while inhaling and to the sound "so" (pronounced saw) while exhaling. By doing so, one can transcend the mindand attain the turyastate. This dharanais aluded to in the verse 24 of the " Vijnana Bhairava".
"IAST|so 'ham" is the
sandhiform of "IAST|saḥ + aham", the nominatives of the 3rd and 1st person singular pronouns. "IAST|saḥ" can be prefixed to other pronouns for emphasis, as in "IAST|so 'ham" "I myself; I, that very person" or "IAST|satvam" "Thou thyself; Thou, that very person", but in a literal reading, the phrase means "That - I" or "He - I", in mystical interpretations suggesting the identification or dissolution of the Ego with the "Other": "That I Am". "IAST|so 'ham" is the same as the mantra "hamsa" ["Ham" with the exhalation and "sa" with the inhalation.] ("I Am That").
When the "I" merges with the "That", the ego of the "I" identity merges with the Other, who is
Ishvaraof the Vedas, Brahmanof the Upanishads, Bhagavanof the Puranas.
"Sa" in Sanskrit is the combination of the "lifeless" (or, static) consonant S with the dynamic vowel A – that is, with the meaning of Prana or vital force. Also Sa is
Vishnuand Shivaaccording to the Vedic Nirukta. The Sandhi means Yoga(union) or self realization.
The meaning of the phrase might be expressed as follows: "I" am obviously not this body because the physical constituents of the body are changing every moment. Ultimately, the body dies. Atman the soul or self never dies – it is "That". "That" is Absolute Reality. It is the witness of all, it is what the mind does through the body. This self is always on the path of progression, which according to Shaivistic thought is Chaitanya or consciousness. The
Shiva Sutraspeaks of ‘Chaitanyam – Atma’. Consequently, Aham, myself, is Sah, that Self. This is called spiritual awareness.
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